Dubuque School Board Rolls Out Renovation Plans
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa- The idea of a mega school in Dubuque is out, and new plans for major renovation projects are in.
The Dubuque School Board had considered shutting down many of the district’s defunct schools and opening one mega school for all students to attend. But after a public outcry from parents, the Dubuque School Board is rolling out a new 15 year plan to the current schools, and not build a new one.
The Dubuque School Board recently came up with a new mission: to be “America’s Best Small City School District.” They say in order to do that, they need make big upgrades at every single school building.
At Bryant School administrators say the building needs a total renovation. That’s why the board plans to spend more than four million dollars to do just that. The beloved neighborhood school. Dubuque parents fought to keep this concept alive. Many despised the idea of closing these small schools and creating on big mega school.
Board President Craig Beytien said, “the public came back very clearly and said no. We want local schools in neighborhoods. Schools kids can walk there.”
But the problem is, many of the school buildings have seen better days. Board Member Tom Barton said, “boy, some of the buildings go back upwards of 80 years.”
Many elementary school gymnasiums double as the cafeteria. Many lack up- to- date security measures.
And for other schools, parking is a huge issue. Barton said, “The whole parking lot issue is a huge dilemma. It’s a major issue with the foot prints of our school buildings. If you want to talk about safety issues, you don’t have to look much further than the parking lot to find the issues.”
Plus, board members say there is a lot of work to be done at the high school level. Barton said, “the whole 'A' wing of Hempstead. The auditorium, there are a lot of problems there that really need to be addressed and it’s a significant cost. That alone looks to be about 25 million bucks.”
The public spoke: keep things the way they are. That’s they way they’ll stay, but with a shiny new finish. The majority of the building improvements will be paid for using the district’s one cent sales tax. That sales tax money will also be used to make technology updates, again, for every school building.
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